A Travellerspoint blog

I Stuck!

Sneaky Vietnam

sunny 30 °C

Well we are stuck! We were told you could travel to Vietnam and get a visa on arrival, which you can, only you need a approval first. So Carl and I weren't aloud to board our Laos airline flight at 5 in the morning and have to what till Monday for the Vietnam immigration to open. Then we need to get our refund from Laos airlines and book new flights on Vietnam airlines. Its all a bit of a bummer really. But I have still had an awesome trip so far and i would be happy if this is the worst that happens on the trip.

Posted by sheds141 04:50 Archived in Laos Tagged airport visa customs imagration Comments (2)

Does Beerlao run this country?

Laos

overcast 24 °C

Beerlao, Beerlao, Beerlao. That's what you see everywhere in Laos. Walk down the street looking for a place to stay, 'BEERLAO' subheaeding 'guesthouse'. It is unbelievable! But anyway we arrived in laid back Luang Prabang, Laos. The streets are quite, there is lots of food and everywhere you look are limestone hills surrounding the place, which are truly fantastic when they are the foreground for a sunset.
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Smack bang in the middle of town was a small hill and there was a temple on top which just made this place tens times better. Laung Prabang has a very roman-french feel to it, with all its paved streets and bakeries. The food is nothing short of amazing. For $3 i could buy spicy chicken on a stick, cooked on a bbq and get a loaf of banana bread. I am in heaven!

On the second day in Luang Prabang we rented scooters (PINK SCOOTERS) and traveled to the Kuang Si falls, about 32km out of town.
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The first few seconds we a scary few. Apparently they drive on the right over hear, a fact that was made clearly apparent when a truck came charging towards me. whoops! We stop along the way to take in views and snack. When we arrived an odd site meet us. The water was turquoise. It looked really fake, as if it was a postcard from one of those water parks. We were assured that it was completely natural and was due to the minerals and springs further up stream. We had a dip in the refreshing waters before heading back to LP for the night.

We ventured out into the night markets where we came across snake whiskey!
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They lady made us sit done before let us try every liqueur that she had to offer. There was snake whiskey, rice wine, rice wine with snake blood and Lao Lao. It was some very interesting stuff. The markets also had many wooden sculptures, bowls, chopsticks, chess sets as well as clothes and fabrics.

The next day we set out for a small trip around the surrounding hills. We started with a cycle from the city center up one of the rivers that feed into the Mekong. I was loving the ride so much that i didn't realise how fast i was going. Hill after hill we climbed and i didn't even feel tried in my legs, little did i know that was quietly killing our tour guide Twoy and give Carl a hard time.
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After about an hour Twoy could take no more and asked for a break on top of a hill. He said he was amazed at how fit we were. We gave him a break and a drink and flew on. After another half hour we had finished the "3" hour ride section of the tour, so we rolled up our sleeves and had some lunch!

Once my mouth had recovered form a "no.... that's no spicy at all!" lunch we moved onto the kayaking. We jumped into our boats and paddled away. It was soon plane to see why Twoy was not fit at riding, it was because he was to top heavy! No matter how fast we paddled we could never pass him and every time we tried he would punish us we a water soaking. I resorted to trying to sneak passed him through some of the water side over growth but failed miserably.
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As the paddling was hard work we took a break from it and let the current pull us down stream. As a result of this a full day kayak group court up to us just as we went through a rapid section that Carl and I did not see coming. Next thing we knew we were up side downside down and swimming with the fishes. Unlike a normal person, who would flip the boat and climb back in, Carl decided it would be a better idea to climb on top of the over turned boat. Boy did we look like a bunch of newbies. We paddled on and chatted with the other group before hitting more rapids to round off our adventurous day.

That Night we wanted a nice dinner for once, not just the stuff on the street. Before you know it we walked into a very nice restaurant where we were lead out the back. We got a very uncomfortable vibe from the place. It had water fountains, blossoming flowers and low lights. Our orders came out and then 'bang' the put down a plate of rice in the shape of a love heart. That was enough to through us over the edge. We scoffed down our food, through down our money and ran out covering our faces! "Never again will we eat in a place that has a water fountain out the front" we vowed hahaha.

We spent another day in LP getting massages, even tho i don't think i could call mine a massage (I swear she was trying to push me through the floor). Then we headed off to Vang Vieng. It was a gross trip by bus! After 6 back breaking hours we had arrive in Vang Vieng. First thought, "what a hole!", but that just turned out to be the bus station. Once again when we arrived in the town center it was beerlao this and beerlao that. I mean really, if beerlao wanted to they could use the advertising campaign to brainwash the population and over throw the government!

Walking around we ran into this Australian guy who had traveled to VV and never left. He put us up into his ute and drove us around to find us a nice guesthouse to stay in. What a champ, Aussie always say mate to strangers and i can see why. Day one of VV was filled with sleeping off the bus ride and tubing. We had no information about tubing at all, only that it existed in VV. After a small wander around we asked some dero looking blokes and they sent us to the first bar via tuk tuk. The Tuk tuk pulled up at the end of a very long bumpy road and we jumped out and set of in search of tubes. It was soon very obvious that you had to get your tubes in town, so we winged it and swam down the river from bar to bar. The water was cool, the beers were cold and the views was astonishing. They had loads of slippery slides and 15 meter high trapezes leading into the water which made it ten times more awesome.

The next day it was way to cold for anything and i was force to buy a jumper to keep warm. We spent the day resting and eating all the not so good food. Ever place had the same menu and none of them cooked it very well. The one highlight was the banana pancakes for breakfast. YUM YUM! The third day we book a half day climbing tour which was stupid of us because it was so awesome that we really need a full day of it. The limestone walls were perfect for climbing and the height really got you heart racing! I will defiantly be returning to climb these walls one day.
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Posted by sheds141 23:48 Archived in Laos Tagged luang_prabang vang_vieng Comments (2)

Chiang Mai

"hey check that view out!"

sunny 32 °C

Onto Chiang Mai! We left late in the day for our train up to the mountains, only to arrive and wait around for an hour before the train arrived and another hour before it left. Yes this is no japan. When Carl and I bordered the train we found our selves split between two compartments. I chose one with a nice Thai family in it who gave me loads of advice on what to see and do. But Carl chose one with two small, loud, crying children. From what I have heard that was one hell of a mistake.

When we arrived in Chiang Mai, the next day we were excited by they nice warm air.
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This was because the aircon on the train was unajustable. It was like some one thought, "ok they paid for air-conditioning, well they're going to get as much as we can give them". We walk around the train station till we found our driver to the hotel that had been booked for us back in Bangkok, and met some of the people we would be trekking with in the days to come.

The next day was filled with driving from temple to temple
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, which was abit boring. Until we visited a tiger zoo. That was awesome stuff! We got to play with them and pat them, but just when we got comfortable with them we were reminded by their roar that these cute fury cats can still kick our asses.
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The next day 730 came and left, and it was only by chance that Carl woke up to find that my alarm had not gone off and we were late for our trek. We scrambled about, grabbing things we would need before running down stars to find literally a truck load of people waiting. Whoops! I started chatting to the others on the trek. There was a young English couple of the same age as me, a German family, German couple and some Danes.

The truck stopped for breakfast and we all piled out to eat some crazy fried food, along with really fresh fruit. After breakfast our guide asked who wanted to sit on the roof. I was reluctant to do so at first but leapt upon it when I saw the others go first. It was the best thing I could have ever done! The warm breeze on your face and magnificent views made the car ride ten times faster.
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After another hour of driving, the truck pulled up at the elephant lodge for a play and a ride. Of course I picked the biggest, craziest elephant in the whole park, 'tuk tuk'. We feed him and got to know tuk tuk before we climbed up on top. All the elephants kept putting there trunks over their heads as if to ask " more food please" but tuk tuk went through all the bananas we bought in the first 5 meters and gave up on us. Instead he started eat bits of trees. Then he chased the other elephants and stole the bananas of fellow trekkers. When he exhausted that option he proceed to snap a tree in half and drag it behind him. Finally at the end of the ride he pushed a trainer out the way and stole a bunch of banana leaves from inside a hut, almost knocking Carl off. He was a crazy one!

Another 20mins up the road we started the real trek. We saw magnificent mountain rangers, wildlife, waterfalls and rivers! we walk to a local village where they grew bananas and they were the best bananas i have ever had. As night fell the guide through a small "banger" into the forest to let the other village know we were coming. It was the loudest explosion i have ever heard, i almost fell over in shock.

We continued on to the camp site and 'settled in', which consisted of swimming in the freezing, raging torrent that was the creek just down hill and warming up around a camp fire with a few brews. After an amazingly scrumptious dinner we sat under the stars and sang songs that we all knew despite the language barrier. Surprisingly Carl didn't know how to play any song even tho he study guitar for 5 years. looking up at the sky everyone but Carl and I was in awe of how many stars they could see. But in reality the number of stars was about the same that you see back in Adelaide.

The next day Carl and I had to say our goodbyes as we only had time for a two day trek rather than three days like the rest. We set off in different directions and about 10 mins later we started to 'koowe' to the other group. They quickly responded with another small 'banger'.

About half an hour into our trek we were dripping in sweat and decided to have a shower under a water fall near to the trail.
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It was one of the best experiences of my life. The water was warm and cooling all at the same time. After we had bathed we trekked on down stream until we reach the bamboo rafts. We hoped onto one and were washed down stream at an alarming rate. over rocks, down rapids and under lower growing trees. it was epic fun, especially when we got to splash other groups as we pasted by.

Over all it was a truly awesome trek!

Posted by sheds141 03:11 Archived in Thailand Tagged trek chiang mai Comments (0)

Bangkok

Into the swam...

sunny 31 °C

It was Dark and early we Carl and i arose from a very sleepless night, to prepare for our long and painful journey to the heart of Bangkok. We walked into Adelaide airport in a zombie like state and check in our bags. Then we moved on, to go through security and naturally my bag was flag to have something dangerous in it. I was taken off to the side and asked a lot of questions about what i may have in my bag. It was then searched and had all the contents removed. After 10 minutes of this i was aloud to continue on through with nothing being found, so i thought nothing of it...
Later after another security check and immigration in Melbourne international departs terminal, i was looking around inside my bag when i pulled out a pocket knife. Yes indeed, i had made it onto my Melbourne flight with a pocket knife and the entered the international terminal. My faith in Australian boarder security has taken a huge hit. After the pocket knife incident, a call came out over the loud speaker that our flight had been delayed by 4 and a half hours! We had just spend 5hrs in the airport only to be told we had to stay for another 4.5hrs. So due to this unforeseen event, we arrived in Bangkok at 3:50am Adelaide time and arrived at our accommodation at 5:30am Adelaide time. It was brutal!

Our first day in Bangkok consisted of walk the streets and getting scammed. Carl and I had a nice oriental breakfast in this little bar called the cool corner. From there we went out on the streets and ran into a government tourist helper.
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It was very sus to start with, but it became apparent that he was the real deal. He sent us to a good travel agent to book our Chiang Mai part of the trip and then we got scammed but a tuk tuk driver. Note to self, never listen to a tuk tuk driver!! it wasn't all bad tho, we got to see bangkok from the water, and see how the less fortunate live, just for a very steep price.

As this was new years eve, Carl and I went out to get something to eat and drink from the cool corner. This lead us to talking to a Canadian bloke named Jeremy.P1000164.jpg As the night progressed more beer was drunk, until we headed of to a club to ring in the new year!

The next day:
"........................................uhhhh............................not feeling to crash hot!"

Posted by sheds141 22:18 Archived in Thailand Tagged airport thailand bangkok plane asia customs Comments (2)

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